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Sample essay topic, essay writing: What Went Wrong: An Examination Of Separation Of Church And State - 1649 words
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What Went Wrong: An Examination of Separation of Church and StateBy the middle of the 20th Century, the United States had emerged as a worldpower. It accomplished this through its leadership in defeating Germany andJapan in World War II. These two countries' main objective was to enslave theworld and destroy political, religious, and economic freedom. In Germany orJapan, anyone who disagreed with these goals, or was different was destroyed.This was a common practice in these two fascist countries. Unfortunately, atthe same time of its emergence as a world power, the United States began to slipinto a form of judicial fascism.
This slide began when the U.S. Supreme Courtbegan to abandon the religious principles on which this nation was founded.The abandonment officially began in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education, whenthe court announced, "The 1st amendment has erected a wall between church andstate. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve theslightest breach." (Barton, Original.
p.13) This exact case began the reversalof Supreme Court trends and opinions that had lasted for one hundred and fiftyyears. Now, for almost fifty years, the Supreme Court , and the United Statespopulation in general, has used the phrase "separation of church and state" whenreferring to the religion clause of the 1st Amendment.The 1st amendment's actual wording is "Congress shall make no law respecting anestablishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." (Barton,America: To.. p.15) But, because of the Supreme Court's continuous citing of a "wall of separation" and "separation of church and state", the public's idea ofthe 1st amendment's religion clause has been shaped by phrases which do notappear anywhere in the Constitution. The First Congress, which passed thisAmendment in 1789, intended to prohibit the establishment of a national religion.In fact, they didn't mind the establishment of "official" religions by states.At the start of the American Revolution, nine of the thirteen colonies hadestablished religions, so obviously no one was opposed to the coupling of churchand state.Unfortunately, this separation talk has been so furiously pounded into our heads,that a picture is painted falsely into our heads; a picture of a roomful ofgodless atheists, agnostics, and deists framing our Constitution in 1789. Thispicture is gruesomely distorted. Most of the Founders belonged to orthodoxChristian religions, and some were even evangelical Christian ministers. (Barton,America's p.3)The Supreme Court says that these men's intent was to keep religion and politicsseparate.
John Quincy Adams, in a speech on July 4,1837 asked the crowd, "Why isit, that next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous andvenerated festival returns on this day?" He goes on to explain the importantties between the birthday of the nation and the birthday of Jesus Christ. Hesays that the Declaration of Independence was first organized on the foundationof Jesus' mission on Earth, and that the Declaration "laid the cornerstone ofhuman government upon the first precepts of Christianity. Adams stressed thatthe major impact of the Revolution was that Christian principles and civilgovernment were connected in an "indissoluble" bond. (Barton, America's p.17)Why is the Supreme Court blind to such evidence as this? John Quincy Adams wasan extremely well educated man, so he is a very reliable source.Other Founding Fathers were very outspoken about Christian beliefs.John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and one of the men mostresponsible for the Constitution declared, "Providence(heaven) has given to ourpeople the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilegeand interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christian rulers."(Barton, America's p.8) Doesn't this tell our Supreme Court anything? Shouldn'tthey follow the suit of their predecessor?Tragically, the group that suffers the most from these "separation of church andstate " rulings are the children of America. We are headed into the thirdgeneration of people that do not know what it's like to pray in school in themorning.
Luckily, Catholic and private schools aren't affected by thislegislature, so some children can be free. School prayer and religious libertybecame hot debates following the 1962 supreme court case Engel v. Vitale.Following this case, the Supreme Court began attacks on the traditional practiceof praying at the start of a school day.(Barton, America: To.. ,p.14)Since 1962, lessons which were commonplace in school texts have vanished,because of their religious nature. For example, history textbooks for 150 yearscontained a story about George Washington that most adults today have neverheard. It takes place during the French and Indian War, and a young colonel ofthe Virginia militia, by the name of George Washington, had joined forces withthe British General Braddock.
Their Goal was to march on Fort Duquesne, whichis now Pittsburgh. On their way, they were attacked by the French and theIndians. These men were used to European war tactics, and were slaughtered bythe guerilla warfare tactics of the French and the Indians. It is a story ofhow Washington's life hung in the balance for two hours and that only by thedirect intervention of God was his life spared. Washington wrote home,explaining that his coat had four bullet holes, but he was untouched. Fifteenyears after the bloodbath, Washington went back to those woods, and he met anIndian Chief who had fought that day.
He said that he had ordered his braves toshoot down all of the officers, but after the Chief himself had shot atWashington seventeen different times, he ordered his men to ignore Washington,believing him to be under the care of the Great Spirit.(Barton, America's.. ,p.3,4)Students today aren't told much about Washington's "Farewell Address", they aretold it is hard to find, and that it is rarely seen printed. When the teacherdoes mention it, it is taught that Washington warned America about gettinginvolved in foreign affairs, and the growth of political parties. This speechwas commonplace in history texts prior to the 1960s. The problem withWashington's famous speech was that out of the twelve warnings he gave, fourwere overly religious, and therefore unsuitable for students to be exposedto.(Barton America's.., p.8) Washington said, "Of all the dispositions andhabits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality areindispensable supports." He also states, "Whatever may be conceded to theinfluence of refined education on minds..reason and experience both forbid us toexpect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."How blatant can you get? The first president of the United States, the man thatthe Founders unanimously chose as their leader, says that religious principlesand morality are vital to the success of a government! How could the SupremeCourt ignore this evidence? Nobody knows.("George Washington")In the cases of Everson v. Board of Education and Engel v.
Vitale, the SupremeCourt uses Jefferson and Madison's Virginia Statute, a bill that both men pushedin Virginia legislature, as a basis for the intent of the 1st Amendment. This,of course is wrong. In Virginia, the Anglican Church was the only legalreligion, despite the fact that Quakers, Lutherans, and Baptists outnumbered theAnglicans. Jefferson and Madison pushed for the Virginia Bill for ReligiousLiberty, also called the Virginia Statute. This occurred in 1786. This was notthe first example of this, other states had Religious Liberty bills, includingNew Jersey, North Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, andVermont.
(Barton, Original.. p.202)Jefferson and Madison did not consider themselves to be authorities on the 1stAmendment, or the Constitution as a whole. The Supreme Court insists that theyare the only men responsible for the Religion Clauses of the 1st amendment.Jefferson was not even in the country when the Constitution was written, and hehimself said that he had nothing to do with it. Madison told a close friendthat he did not like being called the "writer of the Constitution", and that itwas "the work of many heads and many hands. Madison, although very influentialduring the framing of the Constitution could hardly be considered the spokesmanfor the entire group of Founders. 40 of his 71 proposals failed, and hisoriginal idea of the document was completely different from the final draft.(Barton, Original.., p.204)Many state courts and schools have considered it their duty to followthe Supreme Court's example regarding religious liberty. Because of this, manyodd decisions have been delivered, some of which make people wonder, were thesepeople serious?In Commonwealth v. Chambers, a case heard by the Supreme Court ofPennsylvania, a prosecuting attorney mentioned seven words from the Bible in theCourtroom.
Because of this, the jury sentence was overturned for a manconvicted of brutally clubbing a 71 year-old woman to death. (Barton, Original..,p.16) In Alaska Public Schools, students were prohibited from using the word "Christmas" in school, from exchanging Christmas cards or presents, or fromdisplaying anything with the word "Christmas" because it contains the word "Christ"(Barton, Original.., p.16)The Supreme Court has overlooked the 150 years prior to 1947, in which religiousexpression was encouraged in public, and a case such as Commonwealth v. Chamberswould be unheard of. Before Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Courtmade countless decisions regarding religion that directly contradict the past 50years of religious oppression. Some of these decisions refer to the U.S. as aChristian country.
One, Davis v. Beason, in 1889, strikes down bigamy andpolygamy, rejecting arguments that they were religious exercises. The Courtstates Davis, a Mormon, was wrong, and that his actions were crimes by "the lawsof all civilized and Christian countries." This decision clearly shows theintent of the legislators of the era.(Barton, Original. p.64-65)The solution to this problem lies in educating the people of this great republicas to the intent of the Founders. In the evidence presented, it can be clearlyseen that the judicial fascism being practiced today and now, is clearly notwhat the Founding Fathers intended for our country. The solution to thereligious liberty/school prayer debate lies in the hands of Congress.(Barton, Aguide.
p.36)The media portrays supporters of a school prayer amendment as a radical fringeminority, when recent studies and surveys have shown that 71% of people favor anamendment for school prayer.
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